Healing Line

Healing Line

A Doctor's Journey with Prayer

by J. Rutledge Coleman, D. MD
Mar/Apr 2003

As I sit quietly reflecting, on this New Year's Day 2003, I think back on how I began praying not only with my patients but with others as well.

My journey began in February 1986 during a Cursillo weekend, at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church. Over the course of this weekend, I became very aware of the reality of Jesus' love for each of us through a loving community that was following the Lord's commandment to love one another.

Then in the early 90 's, Elizabeth and I began seeking guidance through in–depth prayer at healing conferences where Francis and Judith MacNutt were speaking and ministering. During those years I saw that Jesus truly does heal people physically, emotionally, and delivers them spiritually in a very loving manner.

During that time I also read Francis' book The Prayer That Heals, a small but powerful book that encourages each of us to begin praying for our — spouses, our family and friends. It made me realize that the Lord could use each of us in unique ways, especially in the everyday work place.

So in 1992, I began to pray for my patients during my quiet time with the Lord every morning. During exams or surgery I would lay my hand on the patient's shoulder and say a prayer, asking the Lord to be with us and heal the patient. This prayer, however, was usually prayed very quietly to the Lord.

Many times the patient and the others around me were not aware of what was happening. After a year or so, one of my assistants asked me what was going on, because so many of our patients did very well following surgery. I shared with her that I always prayed for our patients.

Much happened in those early years. Elizabeth and I began praying for people following church services, and again I saw how profoundly the Lord loved the people seeking Him!

I realized that praying with people required me to listen to their story, love them and then leave them in the Lord's hands. The rest was up to Him. As Francis states, how much healing we see is up to the Lord, and it is a mystery about who will be healed.

In October 1995 I attended a weekend gathering of Promise Keepers in Jacksonville, Florida. On the last day of the Promise Keepers weekend, one of the speakers challenged all of the men not to miss what God has in store for each of them personally. I uttered a short prayer, asking the Lord not to let me miss anything He had in· store for me. I heard the Lord say, "Leave everything and follow me."

At first I thought He wanted me to move to Haiti, since I had been going there frequently on ministry trips. However, it was while I was in Haiti during Thanksgiving of 1996 that I heard the Lord say that He was calling me to go to Jacksonville, Florida. I relayed this to my wife several weeks later, and the Lord clearly confirmed what I had heard. He had given her Genesis 12:1 "...Leave your father's house, country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you."

We spent the rest of 1996 and most of 1997 in prayer discerning this call. In August 1997 the Lord led us to move to Jacksonville, where we have continued to learn more and more about the healing ministry, which is growing not only throughout America but the entire world.

Since those early years, I have become more confident in praying with patients during exams and prior to procedures. Over and over I see evidence of the Lord's healing presence through the power of prayer. I try to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as I begin interviewing the patient at the beginning of treatment. As Tommy Tyson would say, "He would listen to the person with one ear and the Holy Spirit with the other." After reviewing the patient's history, if I feel it is appropriate, I ask, "Would you like for me to pray with you before we begin?" I have only had one person decline prayer after all these years. The usual response is an enthusiastic "yes!" I can honestly say the hardest step for me was just simply asking that question.

Now, after five years of being involved in healing prayer, the biggest healing has been in my own heart; and there is a deep humility that comes from knowing that it is only through the love and grace of Jesus Christ that we can come into His presence and seek His healing power for family, friends and patients.

I highly suggest that those in the medical field who desire to pray with their patients read books such as The Prayer That Heals, The Power to Heal and Healing, written by Francis MacNutt ( ordering information on page 14). These books have been instrumental in helping me to further understand the healing ministry. Much enrichment can be found in the Healing Hands and Shall We Pray videos based on a scientific study of prayer on arthritis (more information available on page 14). Also, CHM offers excellent teaching and training in the ministry of healing through the Schools of Healing Prayer™ Levels I, II, and III (see page 9 for more information).

So as we begin this New Year, I encourage you to get started. You will be blessed.

God Bless and Happy New Year,
Rutledge Coleman

J. Rutledge Coleman, D. MD is the Chairman of the Board at CHM. Mar/Apr 2003 Issue